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Animal/Pets Quarantine - Bringing Pets to Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Moving to and Leaving Japan: Moving To Japan: Animal/Pets Quarantine - Bringing Pets to Japan
Related topic is at: Leaving Japan: Animal/Pets Quarantine - Taking Pets out of Japan
By corine on Tuesday, May 9, 2000 - 11:03 pm:

Urgent info asked -
Did anyone take his/her dog to Japan. We are a young family with one child (5) and a dog (1). We want to take him with us but we don't know what we need to do and how difficult it will be for him.
Could you please give us information and tell us your personal experience about this.
Thanks a lot.
email adress:

By sayakatn on Monday, May 15, 2000 - 8:49 am:

Dear corine,

Look at here in this URL of Animal Quarantine service Japan.

You should wait several day to see your dog again, but many people are coming to Japan with their pets. Don't worry about it.

Japanese people love animals, too, but just know that majority of apartment houses do not welcome pets.

From Admin: here is the web site from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) which is supposed to help you understand the new rules...

By Jane on Saturday, November 4, 2000 - 8:48 pm:

Thanks to the person above who provided the URL address for the Japanese Quarantine. But one thing was not quite clear - if we are coming from Australia with a dog (a rabies free country) do we still need to vaccinate our dog against rabies to get through quarantine in less than 12 hours?
Anyone else brought their doggie with them to Tokyo and like to share their lifestyle experiences? Are there any dog-friendly parks near Akasaka?

By Cornelia on Sunday, September 9, 2001 - 2:11 am:

New e-list in English for pet owners in Japan:

Looking for an English-speaking vet? Need someone to look after your pets when you go away on holiday or need to leave Japan temporarily? Want to be a cat/other animal-fosterer? Looking for good pet stores? This is a non-commercial group for ALL people based in Japan who have a respect for animals as well as those who share their homes with animals in The Land Of The Rising Sun. Advice, practical information, support and fun stuff on everything related to animal companions is offered here.

By Mindy Fenton Samuels on Tuesday, December 11, 2001 - 5:26 pm:

If you are bringing your dog from a rabies free country then you *still* need to vaccinate for rabies prior to your entry to Japan. I believe the vaccine must be given at least 30 days prior to arrival but not more than x number of days (6 months?).

When you think about it, this makes no sense whatsoever. Japan is also designated rabies-free and still we must vaccinate for rabies annually. Whose idea was it to vaccinate for a disease that doesn't exist on the island? Go figure!!

I have 3 Chows that were brought in from Singapore. We were supposed to have a quick vet check at Nariata airport but the vet just gave a cursory glance at the dogs and we were free to go home. Just be aware that even though the vet check is very quick, the red tape involving the paperwork is something awful and it took us several hours to go through it all.

By Ana Mickle on Monday, June 3, 2002 - 4:54 am:

Hi there! We may be moving to Tokyo (no confirmation yet). I just wanted to ask about how difficult it is to bring pets into the country. We have a black Lab. Are dogs usually allowed in apartment buildings or are we better off looking for a small house?

Also, this is probably a nutty question, but I love the sport so much I thought there would be no harm in asking...Does anyone know of any horseback riding facilities or riding schools near or in Tokyo?
Thanks! Ana

By Lynn Chen on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 3:49 pm:

Unless your dog is very quiet and does not bark at all, even when your house is being raided by robbers, you are better off living in a house. We recently moved from a house into an apartment, and within a week, a neighbor complained about our dog's barking. We didn't even know she barked before this. Apparently, since we are on the first floor people walk by our apt to get to the elevator. To our dog who's used to living in a house with a garden that separates her from traffic that must have sounded like someone is coming into our living room. So I guess she barked, but only when we are out. What a good watchdog! But our neighbor did not think so, and our apt bldg only has 6 units. Imagine if you lived in a big complex! So we had to buy one of those anti-bark collars that sprays her with a scent every time she barks =(

On horseback riding, I copied down this info a long time ago but haven't had a chance to check it out. It:s called Tokyo Horseback Riding club, near Yoyogi park. Tel: 03-3370-0984. This is probably the most centrally located one. I know one more in Setagaya-ku, which has lessons and stuff, but don't have their phone #.

By Admin on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 10:40 am:

This came in with a request for the name to remain undisclosed:
05/15/2002 "Anonymous" wrote:
We brought our dogs from Hong Kong and it wasn't too bad :-)

Current regulations for cats can be found here:

When our girls arrived in Japan we used Yokohama Systems Movers who took them to the quarantine facility and returned them to us afterwards (they even gave us some photos of the girls there).
Our (English-speaking) contact there is:
Shunichiro Hirano
Yokohama System Mover Co., Ltd.
Sun Bldg. 9th Fl.
3-25 Tokiwa-cho, Naka-ku
Yokohama 231-0014, Japan
81-45-641-9118 Phone
81-45-641-4315 Fax

By helene on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 1:50 pm:

About Cat quarantine
Our cat was born in Japan, travelled to France, South Korea and came back to Japan 10 years later.As far as quarantine is concerned, no over head-ache with proper papers, and vaccination made in due time. However, do remember that animals are more sensitive than we may imagine. Our cat died after his quarantine (15 days) through Japan. Weighting 7 kg, was given back at 4.3 kg and all the consequenses on its liver and body condition. Our cat, feeling abandonned, abviously restrained from eating. Back home for his last days, he mewed until the last minutes, happy to be in the "family" again. Sure, children will miss him.

By Cornelia on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 3:14 pm:

Yes, I have been unable to find out the number of animals dying in quarantine in Japan but it happens with no reason to suspect "abuse", just emotional trauma. One family I know lost their miniature schnauzer in quarantine last year. He never even came home. The mother still has not been able to tell her two boys the truth.

Helene, you have my sincerest condolances.

By Nancy on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 9:07 am:

Recently I have heard that it is possible to avoid quarantine when arriving in Japan (from a country that is not rabies free) by providing a letter from a vet stating that your pet cannot be in quarantine as it requires special care. Apparently there is a lot of paperwork and you must agree to keep your pet under quarantine at home. Is there anything official on this? I too have heard rather unpleasant stories about quarantine... this really ought to be investigated.

By Sandy Cox on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 11:40 am:

November 22, 2004 communique from American Embassy contains this very useful information regarding changes to the quarantine regulations as of this month! This has been copied, so please follow up on this with your own research and verification procedures!

Importing Pets into Japan
Bringing pets across international borders can be difficult, and preplanning is very important. If you are thinking of bringing a dog or cat into Japan from overseas, there have been recent revisions to Japanese regulations regarding the importation of pets.

Effective November 6, 2004, the procedure of importation of dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes and skunks has changed. The quarantine time will be reduced from current levels to only 12 hours, providing the additional requirements and documentation have been met. Without the required documents, the maximum quarantine time can be 180 days. Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) officials advise that the entire process can take up to six months to complete.

The basic steps for importing accompanied pets are:

1. Implant a microchip for identification of the pet prior to vaccination for rabies.

2. Get two rabies shots within the effective interval. Age of the pet should be 90 days or greater at first vaccination, with second vaccination no more than 1 year before import.

3. Get a blood test after the second rabies shot.

4. Make advance notification of the pet importation to AQS no later than 40 days prior to arrival. The exact form for this advance notification will not be available (on the AQS website) until January 2005.

5. The pet must stay in the exporting country at least 180 days but no more than two years after the date of blood sampling.

6. Upon arrival, submit the following documents to AQS:

a. Health certificate.

b. Two rabies vaccination certificates.

c. Advanced notification acknowledgement sent from AQS.

d. An Import Quarantine Application Form provided by AQS.

When importing pets as unaccompanied cargo, the steps include:

1. Submit the documentation the same as accompanied pets (cargo importation requires more time and expense).

2. The owner of the pet is not required to be present in order to apply for quarantine inspection. A proxy can make the application.

3. The Narita quarantine service charges a detention fee of approximately JPY 3,000 or more depending on size per day for all pets, which includes basic boarding, food and care for the pet.

4. Other costs may be incurred for transportation fees, kennel customs clearances, import tax and a proxy charge depending on the pet and other circumstances.

MAFF Grace period. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) has granted a grace period for pets aged 10 months or older. From November 6, 2004 to June 6, 2005, these pets may be imported using either the existing requirements or the new requirements. Starting June 7, 2005, all pets must follow the new requirements.

People wishing to import a pet into Japan should visit the website: for detailed information. Employees may also contact the Animal Quarantine office at Narita at +81-476-32-6664; fax +81-476-30-3011.

By Gary McLaughlin on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 2:33 pm:


I have an American Staffordshire and can only say that my dog received absolutely fantastic treatment from the staff at Narita. We were even able to chose a specific food for her. They have several vets on staff 24 hours a day and many staff. As our dog was over 20 kg she was given her own special room as a cage. In addition, they have a running area for the dogs. Our dog came over about 3 year ago and I believe the daily cost was $25-30 USD/day and for 10 days.
Hope this helps...

By Nancy on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 - 2:14 pm:

There are new rules in place as of November 1 2004 for bringing certain pets into Japan. Here is the link (in English).

By Pato on Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 9:31 pm:

The US Embassy mailing dated 2005 May 25 includes a section on importing cats and dogs as follows:
Importing Dogs and Cats into Japan
The Japanese Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) has radically revised its procedures for importing pets. These rules apply specifically to dogs and cats. Other rules apply for more exotic pets.

The key thing to note is that for most people the process will take at least seven (7) months from the date of the first rabies vaccination, so advance planning is critical. We are told there are no exceptions and that animals which have not met all requirements described below will have to be quarantined upon arrival until all are met.

The full procedure is outlined at the AQS website at Navigation can be a bit tricky. After finding the website, do the following:

-- On the homepage, click on "Home" on the top menu.
-- Click on "Bring Animals to Japan."
-- Click on "Dog" or "Cat."
-- Click on "New quarantine system for dogs and cats."

To summarize the main points:

At least 210 days before arrival...
Animal must have (or obtain) microchip identification. This must be done before the rabies vaccinations. The only microchips that can be read at Japan AQS facilities are ISO 11784 and 11785 Standards. For any other chips, you must bring your own microchip reader.

210 days...
After receipt of microchip, the animal receives the first of two rabies vaccinations. These must be "inactivated rabies vaccinations." Be sure to obtain certification of the period of validity for the particular vaccinations that you obtain (some are good for two years, others for only one). Pet must be at least 90 days old at time of first vaccination.

180 days...
Animal receives second vaccination (at least 30 days after first vaccination).

180 days...
Anytime after the 2nd vaccination (ideally within 1-2 days), animal must receive a Fluorescent Antibody Viral Neutralization (FAVN) Blood Test to ensure that the rabies vaccinations have provided adequate rabies antibody levels and must be approved by a facility approved by the Government of Japan. Approved sites are listed at the AQS website (currently there are only two in the U.S.).

40 to 90 days...
As early as 90 days before arrival or as late as 40 days before, you must fax a formal notification to AQS on a specific form. The notification form and all other recommended certificates can be found at: AQS will send an acknowledgement upon receipt of the form.

2 to 10 days...
Obtain a health certificate for the animal verifying that it is free of rabies and, in the case of dogs, leptospirosis. The certificate must be approved by the national government in the country of export (USDA's APHIS if coming from the U.S.).

On arrival...
Be prepared to present completed forms A and C from the AQS site, Acknowledgement of Advance Notification, and completed Import Quarantine Application.

Animals that arrive with all documents in order, including readable microchip, should be cleared at the airport in under two hours (the website says "within 12 hours" but we are told that it can often be done while you wait) and taken home immediately. Animals that arrive without the appropriate health certificate, without advance notice, without a readable microchip ID, or without the proper blood test and 180 day waiting period will be subject to quarantine upon arrival in Japan. The quarantine period will extend as long as it takes to resolve the problem. For example, if you administer the blood test on April 1 then bring the animal to Tokyo on June 1 (60 days later), the animal would be subject to 120 days in quarantine, assuming all other requirements have been met. Kennel rates while in quarantine here run around US$30-35 per day. More information on quarantine can be found at the AQS website.

Finally, there is some good news for a limited few. If you arrive before June 6, 2005, the old, less demanding procedure still applies. In addition, if your pet comes to Japan directly from a designated rabies-free country (see AQS website for details), many of the requirements, including the blood test and 180 day waiting period, are waived. However, if such an animal is transported to the U.S. before importation to Japan, there is no waiver.

By Sari H. Krassin on Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 8:08 am:

Hi I am in the process of bringing 2 cats to Japan. I have carefully followed all the steps, ie. micro chip, 2 rabies vacs., blood test, ect. However, I am confused about the documents. Is it just the 1. blood test verification
2. application for entery
3. international health certifiate from vet?

When I read it sounds like they want a 4th document from a government approved agency. Is there a 4th document? Or are they just talking about a international health certificate. I have been very careful to follow every step but I'm a bit confused with the required document portion. If you were sucessful in bringing your pet here after June 2005 please clarify this for me. Also, I am looking at American Airlines Cargo at the moment but is there a better Animal courier service out there that is comparable in price? Thank you for your help.

By Leese Johnson on Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 10:05 am:

The more you have the better.
The "government agency" they mean is your state veterinarian. Call your State's department of aggriculture and tell them you need a health certificate stamp to export your cat. They should be familiar with that and give you directions. We used Fed Ex to send the paperwork they needed and had them Fed Ex it back. Still took 3-4 days.

Notification, application, form a, form c, rabies titre results, health certificate with the proper stamp (you may have to send this to your state capital for endorsement of the “government agencyEor state vet and print out the “Guide to ImportingE

I would also suggest you bring copies of the vet’s notes regarding implanting the micro chip (even if you have a certificate from the micro chip company-they kept refering to my vet’s notes), your copies of the vet certs for all the rabies shots, as well as vet notes from when the did the titre and any paperwork the vet can generate regarding.

As far as airlines- I know some airlines will allow you to bring animals in crates that will fit under the seat (like carry on) for free if you are traveling, too. I’m pretty sure United does. Since we have a large dog he had to ride in the cargo and we had to pay a little extra. If he hadn’t been so heavy (80+ #) he would have been free, too. We ended up paying something like $100 more for “overweight baggageE If he were to ride cargo (without us on the same plane) it would have cost $1200 US to ship him unaccompanied. I told them a seat would cost lessE

Hope that helps. Good luck Leese

By Sari H. Krassin on Sunday, May 7, 2006 - 11:52 am:

Thank you so much Leese, that helps a lot! It looks like I have some more paper pushing to do than I thought. What a ridiculous headache! I know that all airlines do NOT allow animals in cabin on ANY international flights and they MUST go on cargo planes after May due to warmer weather they prohibit animals in baggage during the hotter summer months.

1. I guess my question is the blood test, micro chip, rabies certificates, enough to get the state approval for export.Can I get that approval BEFORE the final vet exam that is requried before departure or is it the ACTUAL international certificate from the VET is what I need stamped and endorsed?

It would be nice if the state approval for export is something separate that could be done now that I have the blood test back. I know that the arilines require the last vet check to be 10 dyas prior with a international health certificate. I just don't want to have to have my in laws running around after the final vet check for an endorsement stamp. But I am guessing that that the Japanese want the vet's international health certificate stamped and endorsed just to make it a little more work for me. I am hoping since I am dealing with cats it will be cheaper. I know they charge by size and weight of container. I only have a $500 per animal reimbursement for their travel expense. I've probably paid close to that in micro chip, vacinations, and not to mention flying them to grandma's for the 180 day wait period. Thank you very much what I pain!

Thank you so much.

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